SAN DIEGO -- Two days after tests on his injured left thumb showed it's healing, Padres third baseman Chase Headley was on the field before Wednesday's game taking batting practice.
Headley, a switch-hitter, took batting practice from both sides of the plate before the Padres faced the Dodgers at Petco Park.
His swing felt good, Headley said, as did his thumb. On March 17, Headley suffered a fractured tip of his left thumb sliding into second base in a Spring Training game in Arizona.
The initial diagnosis was that he would miss between four and six weeks. After hitting Wednesday, Headley and the Padres are optimistic he can start a Minor League rehabilitation stint soon, possibly as early as this weekend.
"In the next three or four days, we might map something out," said Padres manager Bud Black. "But we are very encouraged. Chase's swings were good from both sides of the plate."
Headley, who led the National League in RBIs a year ago and won Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards, said he is eager to return but is pragmatic about the steps that are needed before he can do so.
"It will depend on how I feel," he said. "I don't think we're a long ways off. More than anything, we'll see how it feels."
Headley said he might need between four and seven games in a rehabilitation stint before he's ready to play in the big leagues again.